Wesleyan's First Century: With an Account of the Centennial Celebration

By Carl F. Price | Go to book overview

CHAPTBR XII
JAMBS L. McCONAUGHY, EDUCATOR

THE evening newspapers of October 18, 1924, announced that James Lukens McConaughy had been elected tenth president of Wesleyan University that morning by the Board of Trustees in session at Hotel Belmont, New York city. Editorials later noted that he was a Congregational layman and, except for President Smith, the only president that Wesleyan had elected who was not a Methodist minister: that was indeed news. Others remembered that when elected to preside over Knox College he had been called the youngest college president in America, and that he was still a young man, thirty-seven years old. Dr. David G. Downey, the "prime minister" of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who gave distinguished service to the college as president of the Board of Trustees from 1923 to 1928, having been largely instrumental in securing President McConaughy for Wesleyan, gave him this official introduction: "Doctor McConaughy is first of all a man of outstanding and forthright Christian character. He believes that Christian character is the cornerstone of a successful life. His entire experience since graduation has been in educational work, teaching and administrative. His success as president of Knox College augurs an equally distinguished career at Wesleyan."

President McConaughy is richly endowed through his Scotch and Quaker parental heritage. When he was born in New York city on October 21, 1887, his father, Dr. James McConaughy, was secretary of the Twenty-third Street Y. M. C. A. His mother before her marriage was Miss Eleanor Underhill of Brooklyn. When in 1901 he entered Mt. Hermon School, near Northfield, Massachusetts, his father was at the head of the Biblical Department there ( 1891-1912); he later

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